Imitate me…?

“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” (Prov 13:20 KJV)

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13 KJV)

Over the last few days I was in Perth with my girlfriend, showing her another part of Australia while she is here. In that time I didn’t spend much time in prayer and the Word, we were so busy and by the end of each day I crashed. So because of this, I felt rather dry and empty inside by the end of the trip.

When I feel empty inside like this, I can become rather grumpy and a tad short with people. My mood changes depending how I feel inside. I don’t like it when I’m like that, neither do people around me. But it’s the way I’ve always been.

According to the scriptures above, I’m going to reflect the kind of company I keep. If I’m a person who spends time with Jesus, I’m gonna become like Him. The Priests and Leaders of the Temple saw the boldness of Peter and John and recognised they had been with Jesus….the world is going to know who you’re spending time with by the way you act. If you act like the devil, well, perhaps it’s time you re-evaluate who you spend your time with…

The people we have around us will influence us greatly, either for good or for bad. It’s a simple principle, but vital to our lives and walk with God.

As well as wise people around me, I want to spend time with Jesus Himself, I want His presence in my life to rub off on me so much so that sin is no longer an issue I have to struggle over, being that  when tempted, as we all are, the choice is easy because if I’m like Christ, what other choice is there but to do the right thing? I desire that His character rub off on me in everything I do, and that others around me become inspired by His presence in me and want to be like Christ also. Like Paul says, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” (1 Cor 11:1) That is a bold statement – can you and I say the same thing? We can if we are actually imitating Christ! Most of us can’t say that, because we simply don’t imitate Him. But we can if we spend time with Him and people who do imitate Him. I’ll leave you with that thought…

Have a nice day and God bless,

Rob 🙂

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Treasure Hunt

“Though I am the least deserving of all people, He graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ.” (Ephesians 3:8 NLT)

As I was reading this 3rd chapter in Ephesians tonight, I had to stop at this verse and think about this statement!

First, Paul thinks he is the LEAST deserving of all people, and look how he was used by God? I’ve been away from God because of mainly how undeserving I’ve felt. Condemnation is ruining believers walk with God. It’s the biggest killer amongst Christians today, so it would seem. Everybody has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) that’s why He sent Jesus to die for us. How I wish I dusted myself off and sought God in my greatest times of need, when I was full of guilt and shame. I couldn’t get passed the feelings of guilt and condemnation, and was so tired of the race, I simply gave up. Well, it’s time to get up again, it’s never too late to continue the race until you die. God is just waiting for you to come to Him in repentance, and He’s there with open arms, it’s really like that, it’s true.

When I read this, I realised one simple truth: all of us are undeserving, but if it didn’t stop Paul, why should it stop me? 

Second, He gave Paul a message (oh stop right there a minute!!! Once you get up and going again, and let the grace of God in, He will give you a message to shout out!!! Anyway…) about the endless treasures available to us.

I don’t know about you, but reading that stirred me up…I’m on a treasure hunt now, I want to discover what these endless treasures are that He has for me in Christ, and they can only be found in Him, no one and nothing else.

How do we find these treasures? Go back to the basics I suppose…His Word, prayer, worship, fellowship. We discover them alone with God, and together as believers. Let’s do it…

Imma a goin’ treasure hunting…aaaghrr! (lame I know, but was there to be said!).

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Just another thought…

Hey guys and gals! Well here I am, 3am and I’m at work! I have 4 and a half hours left, so in-between doing my duties, I have been praying. Putting on instrumental worship on in the background helps a lot. You know how sometimes you want to pray but you don’t want silence but you don’t want to sing along to a song either, but you want that atmosphere of worship? So I thought an instrumental would be just perfect! It’s a good thing about having an Apple Music subscription, you can search for just about anything and it comes up.

So in my prayer and devotion time, I prayed and asked the Lord what He wants me to do for the rest of my life. What is my purpose for being here? I thought of my previous mission journeys when I was 23. When I first moved to the outback, it was not a sacrifice – it was an adventure. In fact, I’m not sure if God actually even called me out there at the time. I just wanted to move out of home and go on an adventure! Sure, I thought I did want to serve God, but in reality, I wanted an adventure. There was no real sacrifice involved.

“But you went to the outback where there was nothing around! Of course it was a sacrifice!” You might think this, and it really did look like a huge sacrifice. One pastor told a church I was speaking at one time, “He went out there with no money, no savings in the bank, just what the church gave him to drive up there. That’s a huge thing to do isn’t it?” It would seem to everyone else I was making a big sacrifice, just because I never saved money, didn’t own a house to rent out while I’m away…no backup plan. I just went. But you know what? I didn’t care about money, I didn’t care about getting a house and all that stuff. I just wanted to live a simple life and preach and have an adventure. The truth is, I had fun out there. I had no bills, I ate kangaroos and sat around campfires telling yarns and drinking tea and making new friends. I’d go for bush walks and get lost and find my way back again and it was great! I’d go for long drives and enjoy the scenery and go camping. It wasn’t much of a sacrifice. It was an adventure.

As I thought about these things tonight, or early this morning anyway, I thought I don’t know if I could go out there these days. I have a good job, I have a beautiful girlfriend I hope to marry someday. I need to save money and get out of debt that I put myself into…how could I, if God actually did call me, go out there with all these responsibilities? I don’t even have a family of my own yet…How do families with kids do it?? If I did all that today, then maybe it would be a sacrifice, as I would have no idea how I’d pay my debts and earn any decent money. Back in those days I lived off Centrelink (Australian welfare system) and that’s all I needed, and they didn’t even require that I look for work or nothing! I lived like that for two glorious years! I mean I did actually do voluntary work for the church – I mowed lawns, drove their buses into the ground (and was blamed for doing so, and they may have been rather accurate!) and participated in all church events and working bees etc. But I was free in-between those times to do as I pleased. And that I did!

How does one with responsibilities actually make a move to serve God like the move I made when I had no responsibilities in life at all? Families with kids have moved to philippines, the outback and india…all over the world in response to the call of God! How do they do it?

Anyone out there want to share your thoughts on this? Maybe some of you will say, “Where God leads, He feeds, where He provides, He guides,” ya know, all the cliche sayings. It’s about walking by faith, not by sight, all of this, and it’s true. I thought I had more faith when I was younger, but it seems to me I had less to worry about if it didn’t work out!

Some of you might say, “well you don’t have to go out ‘on the field’ to serve Him, you can do that in your job right here and now.” Good point, so very true. In my job, however, who am I going to minister to? The wall? All my clients are in bed! It’s a very peaceful job…a great opportunity to spend time with Jesus, that’s for sure. And write!

So while that statement is very true, I just don’t see my life doing the same thing every night at work, night in, night out. There’s got to be more I can do, ya know? And my point is “IF” God were to call me out of my job anyway, I’m not actually saying He will. He may want me to write to you every night, ha ha…but I have more things in my heart I want to see happen, and I suppose if God were to call me away again, well, I should leave the details to Him, because thinking about the practicalities of it all is hurting my head and I really should take my mother’s advice…and really Jesus’ advice in Matthew 6; “Just live one day at a time!

Thanks Mum and Jesus, I will…

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Thoughts from Jacob’s life

So I was listening to an audiobook from a Nigerian pastor called Chris Oyakhilome called “When God visits you.” In it he talks about Jacob’s wrestle with God and how afraid Jacob must have been to face Esau. He was so full of fear that he decided to get alone and pray! He needed to seek God! Fear drives you to either seek Him or run from Him… My thoughts wandered at this point and thought about what it must have been like for Jacob about to face Esau. Esau wanted to kill him and most likely wasn’t about to change his mind. But something strange happens – Jacob has an encounter with God, has his name changed to Israel –  then faces Esau who is suddenly nice to him!

Jacob stole his birthright and then his blessing and vowed to kill him…this would not have been easily forgotten even over the passing of years. It would have always been in the back of Esau’s mind that the next time he sees Jacob, he’s in for it. He was out to get revenge, he was out for blood.

It was impossible for there to be peace between the two brothers without this encounter with God. Totally and utterly impossible. Because of the blessing and favour God bestowed on Jacob, now Israel, God did something in Esau’s heart, and he couldn’t go through with his plan of revenge that he most likely held in his heart for years.

My thoughts concerning this today is simply this: whatever we are facing in life, howbeit impossible, only an encounter with God can change it. Only the blessing and favour of God can change it. Maybe you need peace in your family like Jacob and Esau needed, maybe you genuinely wronged someone, and you have come to the point where you must face that person, and it’s very scary for you…man does not forget easily, but if you seek God and get alone with Him as Jacob did, and cry out to Him then He can forgive you, bless you and restore such favour on you that he can change the hearts of your “Esau,” even the most vengeful and downright bitter people who are bent on ruining your life – he can stop them dead in their tracks. Esau was stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the blessing and  favour of God on Jacob’s life.

A scripture comes to mind when I write this now: “No weapon formed against you shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17)…we are favoured and blessed sons and daughters of the Most High God and for a long time I had forgotten this fact. I lost sight of the truth of God’s Word and who I am in Christ because I stopped reminding myself in His Word.

The truth is, If God is for us, who can be against us?? These scripture verses are a reality! Encounter the Lord and watch Him turn things around by His grace, His unmerited and undeserved favour!

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Your Suffering Is Over

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Today is the first day I have done a devotion for a long time. I’ll tell you why I haven’t written one for ages…for the last year I’ve been going through separation and now divorce. For the most part, I’ve been through utter turmoil within that marriage. It was literally hell on earth and felt I had no escape. On the outside it looked ok – you know, all the Facebook photos. But within our four walls our marriage was crumbling.

So I haven’t felt worthy to write about Him, and haven’t even attended church for most of that time. Even now I am struggling going to church because of how people view me, or how I perceive that they view me. Either way, it’s been a struggle, and if you’ve never been there, you don’t know what it’s like.

God forbid anyone go through anything like this, but I have good news from one who’s gone through it and is coming out the other side now…there’s hope in Jesus. There’s a future in Christ. I have come to the conclusion that though yes God hates divorce, that He does in no way hate ME. I am STILL His child, I am STILL His son. I may have been a prodigal, but I’m coming home, I’m on my way back and on Sunday morning I felt a stirring in my heart, one that I haven’t felt for so long, but I heard Him say this one thing when I was listening to His Word…He simply said this…“Your suffering is over.” The very next day I find out that my ex signed the divorce papers that day, on the Sunday that God spoke to me.

How on earth can God speak to me when I’m getting divorced? Isn’t it a sin??? I guess He’s more forgiving than people are, that’s for sure. He has a lot of grace people don’t have, and sees BOTH sides of the story that man certainly doesn’t see – or man may at times see parts of both but chooses to side with one. God is not a man that He should act in this manner, biased toward one or the other. He is just and fair and merciful to all.

It truly was a burden lifted off my shoulders. All the things I went through for the last 6 years had driven me to contemplate suicide on a few occasions…except I thought of no way that would be painless, so I decided against that lol…but only the Lord knows what I went through. While I felt man has misjudged me, I must realise they are only human. God still actually loves and cares for me. That was what I realised on Sunday, that He is there no matter what.

You know it’s terrible to think, but sometimes I think that those who have simply  misjudged me and have said ignorant things to me, and some even hurtful things – I sometimes wish that they would get a piece of what I went through too. I imagined that their marriage would break apart and people would start treating them differently too…oh how bad is it to think it!!! But the concept is true! In reality I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy but how I wish people had God’s compassion, especially those who say they are His children! I see people raising their hands in church, crying out to Him in the public meetings but then I see the very same people treating others like they’re the sons of Satan himself. “Sinner!” they cry! Jumping to wrongful conclusions. This is Pharisaical!  Is it any wonder why I cannot decide what church to go to anymore, when I see behaviours like this?

When the woman with the issue of blood came to Jesus, she came out of desperation from a great need in her life. She came with faith that if she only touched the hem of Jesus’ garments, she would indeed be healed. So she touched Jesus, felt the very power of God flow into her from Him, and she felt within herself that she was healed. Jesus could have rebuked her for touching Him without His permission – if He was that stuck up like the Pharisees. But He didn’t…He said “Your faith has made you well. You’re suffering is over.” This phrase stuck out to me when I was listening to it on Sunday morning and I immediately thought of my situation and really felt like God was setting me free from my past marriage and telling me that He truly understands what I went through and that He will never leave me nor forsake me. Yes, I got all that out of one phrase in a split moment of time that left me in awe of God’s grace!

I guess I would just like to say there is still hope for the person who is divorced or going through one now. It really isn’t the end of your life, but can be a significant new beginning. I now have a sweet loving girlfriend from the Philippines, and I’ve honestly never felt more blessed ever. Today we celebrate the first 6 months of our relationship together…in the Philippines many couples actually celebrate their relationship every month, calling them “monthsaries.” I thought it was a joke at first, but I’ve gotten on board with it! Filipinos are family oriented and truly value their relationships above anything else. So keeping your relationship alive by celebrating it every month makes sense. Our special day every month is the 25th, because on August 25th, 2015, Juvy and I became exclusive to each other alone.

Now all my suffering I endured is in the past. The future looks brighter everyday …thankyou Jesus!

So today isn’t exactly a devotion but a glimpse of my life story up to this point. But you can meditate on the story of the woman with the issue of blood found in Mark 5:21–43, Matthew 9:18–26, Luke 8:40–56. Apply it to your situation…

God bless,

Rob 🙂

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Recognizing Jesus

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“That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.” (Luke 24:13-16)

As I listened to this passage this morning, I couldn’t help but think how many of us fail to recognise Jesus in our everyday lives. He’s right there with us, but we don’t recognize He’s even there. The two disciples were distraught at the events that occurred over the weekend, and thought that Jesus was going to restore the kingdom to Israel, setting them free from Roman oppression. From the start they had their eyes on an earthly kingdom. But Jesus explained to them on the road that what happened to Him was meant to happen in this way. Starting from Moses, Jesus explained everything to them…that would have been an amazing talk to listen to!

Are you focussed so much on the things that you’re going through today, that you don’t recognize Jesus? Are you focussed on worldly things that you fail to recognize the true reason for Jesus coming into the world and dying? This story is a good reminder for this.

Do you know when they did recognize Him? As soon as He broke the bread! As soon as He showed them the sign of the new covenant, made in His Body and Blood, their eyes were opened! This is why communion is so important. Through recognizing the covenant Jesus made through His sacrifice, we recognise Jesus Himself. When we take the time to sit down and spend time with Him, being thankful for what He has done for us – then we will truly see and know Him the way He wants us to.

As the disciples were on the road to Emmaus, we are on the road of life, and sometimes the road can be steep, windy, have rough corrugations or alternatively smooth bitumen and straight. But whatever the condition of the road, Jesus wants to be with you on it and help you through it. Allow Him to be with you on the road today by focussing on Him and what He has done in your life…and if you can’t think of anything He has done for you, try starting at the cross.

God bless,

Rob 🙂

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I want to be in that number!

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“Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem.  He said to them, ‘Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’
There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.” (Luke 13:22-30)

I was listening to this passage today before coming to work this evening, and as it was being read, I really visualized in my mind what was happening. I imagined myself being locked out and Jesus was speaking through the door, saying He didn’t know me, and I imagined myself pleading with Him to no avail. I imagined what it would feel like to be locked outside. In fact, I remembered the times as a child, when my brothers used to lock me outside when I wanted to come in. I remembered how that even felt like at the time. It felt like they’d never let me in! Of course, Mum would always tell them to open the door for me and they would get into trouble! I was the youngest of three boys, and my two older brothers could be mean sometimes!

But could you imagine having the door shut on you forever, with no possible hope of ever being able to come in again? The truth is, that is exactly what is going to happen in the time of the end. Jesus said in this parable that many will try to enter in but will fail, having the door forever closed on them. Many!

Do you know that old song, “oh when the Saints go marching in?” It goes onto say, “I want to be in that number, oh when the saints go marching in!” There’s a Football club called the Saints here in Australia, whose theme song is taken from that one. I wonder if they even know what they are singing when they sing it…if they would win that is. (Every time a team wins, they get to sing their theme song at the end, so they wouldn’t sing it very often!)

But I want to be in that number when the Saints of God go marching in, through Heaven’s pearly gates! Do you? Jesus said it is a narrow path and there are few that find it – but oh, how it would be worth finding! I want to be in that number!

How do we be in that number, with the few that find the narrow path to life? There is only ONE way, and that way is through Jesus Christ! Jesus Himself said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father except through Me.”

Do you believe that? Well, it’s the truth, and you need to decide whether you will accept Jesus or reject Him – it is a decision that will affect the rest of your life and into eternity. It is not to be taken lightly whatsoever.

I don’t know about you, but I’m accepting Jesus as the only way to the Father – because I want to be with Him, and with all the saints, I want to be in that number…

God bless,

Rob 🙂

 

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